Why are some albums missing from streaming services?
July 30, 2015 1:46 PM   Subscribe

Why are some albums missing from an artist's collection on streaming media services like Spotify, BeatsApple Music, etc.? For example, Nitzer Ebb's discography is missing Showtime, and Throwing Muses seems to not include Hunkpapa and the first Throwing Muses (reissued as In a Doghouse). While I'm sure the vague handwavy answer is "because contracts", I'd love to know the detailed rationale. Bonus points if any one actually worked in the sausage factory that hammered out some of the contracts.
posted by snortasprocket to Media & Arts (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A lot of times an artist's catalog is not owned by the same company/label, so they may not have negotiated with all of the labels that own bits of the catalog.
posted by jzb at 1:52 PM on July 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

I Read Ten Articles About Music Streaming Royalties And All I Got Was Confused should give you an overview of how complex the rights and royalties of streaming can be - for example, streaming services actually have to get different rights and pay different royalties depending on whether they're streaming via the "interactive" paid subscription service, where you the listener can rewind and repeat and select tracks; or whether they're streaming free, where an algorithm picks the music and the listener has little or no control over what plays when.

Mostly, the practical answer is probably 1) there's some complication with the rights-holders (which can be songwriters, publishers, record labels plural, performers) which has prevented the services from getting legal contractual permission to stream the album or 2) the services haven't bothered to get the rights to the entire catalog, just the most popular stuff, or just haven't gotten around to it yet. Getting the rights to the works of relatively obscure acts that aren't particularly active is probably pretty low on the services' priority list.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:01 AM on May 12, 2016

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